Veteran to Receive $118,000 in Back Pay, Damages

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
In a settlement filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Ecolab Inc. has agreed to pay $118,000 to a returning Iraq war veteran to resolve a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) complaint investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).

Following the Labor Department's investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Ecolab in the same court, alleging that Ecolab violated USERRA by failing or refusing to promptly reemploy Michigan veteran Stephen Alasin upon his return from military service. The Department of Justice also entered into a consent decree with Ecolab, which was subsequently accepted by the court, under which Alasin will receive $88,000 in back pay and $30,000 in damages.

"It is important for all employers to realize that the Labor Department is here to protect the employment and reemployment rights of American service members," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "We owe these brave Americans every protection when they return from their military obligations."

USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. military be reemployed by their civilian employers in the same positions or comparable positions when they return.

Information on veterans' employment or reemployment rights is available at or by calling the Department of Labor's toll-free helpline at 866-4USA-DOL (487-2365).
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